C. S. Lewis on writing

17 Apr

  1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and to make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.
  2. Always prefer the pleain, direct word to the long, vague one.  Don’t implement promises, keep them.
  3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete nouns will do.  If you mean “More people died” don’t say “Mortality rose”.
  4. In writing, don’t use adjectives which merely tell us who you want us to feel about the thing you are describing.  I mean, instead of telling us a thing is terrible, describe it so we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was delightful; make us say delightful when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words are like saying to your reader “please will you do my job for me”.
  5. Don’t use words too big for the subject.  Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Fun, randomness


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